Montreal, - Media company Quebecor Inc. claims that BCE Inc. is engaging in unfair competition with its satellite TV subsidiary
Bell ExpressVu and has asked federal regulators to intervene.
Chief executive Pierre Karl Peladeau of Quebecor sent a letter to regulators Thursday alleging that BCE is practising ``a blatant form of cross-subsidization'' by allowing ExpressVu to tap into cash generated by sister company Bell Canada, a regulated phone company.
Peladeau, interviewed after his company's annual meeting Thursday, said it goes against policy of the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission to allow a
regulated company like Bell to subsidize ExpressVu.
Quebecor division Quebecor Media became owner about a year ago of Videotron Group, Quebec's dominant cable TV provider. Satellite-fed TV providers like ExpressVu are slowly taking market share from the cable companies.
``We lost 46,000 subscribers last year and 25,000 since the start of this year,'' Peladeau said after the meeting. ``That's
The takeover of Videotron for $5.4 billion is one reason that Quebecor reached a debt level of $8.1 billion at the end of 2001, a level that worries some analysts and has pushed down its stock values.
Peladeau said paying down the debt is a company priority this year, so it won't make any acquisitions and will use the cash flow
from Videotron, broadcaster TVA and the Sun Media newspaper group.
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